MANDELA DAY TURNS “MANDELA WEEK” IN HONOUR OF MANDELA CENTENARY 2018 CELEBRATIONS IN NIGERIA

It was a week-long of activities in Lagos & other parts of Nigeria in commemoration of the goodwill and life of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s globally recognized Nobel Peace laureate and the first democratically-elected President of South Africa.

The Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations, led by the South African Consulate Lagos was in collaboration with South African Tourism West Africa, United Nations Information Center (UNIC) and National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) both in Nigeria.

The week began with a press briefing on the theme of this year’s Mandela Centenary celebration “Be The Legacy” and upcoming events planned to keep the legacy alive. South African Tourism had major media houses, trade partners, stakeholders and associates in attendance throughout the various activities.

CG, SAHC with SAT TRM WA & ushers in Xhosa traditional attire

 

The Consul General SA Consulate in Lagos, Ambassador Darkey Africa said: “This year is to celebrate and highlight the key role Mandela played in securing freedom of the South Africans, on how Mandela pushed for peace, embraced people of various races and sort for reconciliation despite been imprisoned for 27 years.”

A lecture in honour of Mandela Centenary was held at the NIIA Office with renowned Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka as the keynote speaker alongside UNIC Nigeria Director, Mr Roland Kayanja and Prof. Modupe Faseke all emphasizing the numerous learnings worthy of emulation from the life of Madiba. As a highlight, Prof. Wole Soyinka recited a beautiful poem he penned in honour of Nelson Mandela titled: “And He Said No” following his personal encounters with Madiba. The lecture was followed by a photo exhibition of the life & times of Nelson Mandela at the NIIA Library with a cultural highlight of a fully dressed Xhosa man & woman representing Nelson Mandela’s traditional attire.

On July 18th, to celebrate Mandela’s birthday, the SA Tourism West Africa Hub office participated in a 67-minutes cleaning exercise of the Freedom Park Lagos, done with other partners, stakeholders and students from various schools in attendance. A lecture on the centenary was also held alongside cultural activities that included “The Mandela in You” drama on the life of Mandela acted by local students.

In Asaba Town of the Delta State, there was a tree planting activity at the Mandela Garden where five additional trees were planted, to add to the 95 trees previously planted on Mandela’s 95th birthday in 2013.

The week came to an end with an elegant South African dinner in honour of Madiba’s 100 Years with the guest of honour, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of Common Wealth of Nations who had very close interactions with Mandela and shared so much of his legacy to be emulated.

South African Tourism West Africa Hub used the opportunity to share some of the amazing content of the Mandela Centenary assets such as the Mandela Centenary AV, indoor & outdoor banners to mention a few throughout the various events.

Accra Weizo 2018: Creating seamless Intra-West Africa Travel

The global reports on the goings-on in Africa are most often negative and it seems to me that there are deliberate steps being taken by certain people to create negative and deleterious narratives about Africa as well as aggressively propagate such narratives about the continent to the rest of the world. It may seem innocuous, but I find it funny and mischievous the fact that most people in the developed world see Africa as just one big country rather than a continent.

This vista or perspective, in my opinion, goes a long way to expressly underscore the level of ignorance and how misinformed the developed world is about the true state of affairs in Africa.

The question is, who should and can better tell the true story of Africa better than Africans themselves? Therefore, rather than being unnecessarily over-protective and conscious of territorial boundaries in our dealings within the continent, Africans should rise and take up the responsibility of championing the creation and dissemination of the true African story to the rest of the world.  In the past 10 years that I have had the opportunity of traversing the length and breadth of Africa in line of duty for Inside Watch Africa (IWA), I have seen undeniable similarities in the culture and character of the average of African not minding the different geographical expressions (countries) that we find ourselves.

 

Maybe we should take advantage of the fact that our colonial masters who scrambled for our lands and petitioned the continent in the first place see Africa as a single country to package and sell the continent to them as a destination.

It is instructive to say at this junction that the African story today is not a woeful tale after all; a good example of some of the steps we are taking in the right direction is Accra Weizo which is essentially a tourism and travel fair, convened annually by Mr. Ikechi Uko and his team to sell and promote Intra-Africa travel and tourism in the West Africa sub-region. Mr. Uko who is a veteran travel journalist, team leader of ‘Team Africa’ and founder of Akwaaba in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as Bantaba in Banjul, Gambia both of which are also tourism and travel fairs like Accra Weizo has shown his resolve to unequivocally and relentlessly champion the cause of ensuring that more Africans travel within Africa.

Just as I was opportune to participate in the event in 2017, I was privileged to attend Accra Weizo 2018 that took place between June 22 and June 23, 2018 as one of the hosted  media. In taking you through the gleeful and very educative experience I had at Accra Weizo 2018, let me start by saying Weizo, which simply  means welcome in “Ewe’’ language of Ghana and Togo.

As a travel and tourism writer, I should ordinarily long for and enjoy the experience of travelling to Ghana from Nigeria by road, but going by the unhospitable and unwelcoming dispositions and attitude of most of the security agents on the Nigeria-Ghana corridor coupled with the deplorable condition of the international highway on the corridor, particularly at the Nigerian side, my trip to Ghana by road on Tuesday June 19, 2018 and back to Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday June 24 for Weizo was anything but fun. It seems to me that the governments of Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Togo and Ghana do not really understand or see the socio-economic gains and benefits that will naturally accrue to their countries if and when now people travel on this corridor by road.

My suspicion is that there is an erroneous belief that most people who travel through the corridor by road are either smugglers or petty traders. This is very unfortunate as every traveller is treated as somebody who has done something wrong to be travelling on the corridor by road. As long as this abysmal situation continues, there is no way that the level of travellers’ traffic that could substantially and positively affect the economies and social lives of the three countries on the corridor can be generated.

On arrival in Ghana in the evening of Tuesday the 19th of June 2018, we drove straight to Chances Hotel in Ho, the capital of Volta Region, one of the ten regions of Ghana, into the warm embrace of our host, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA). After we had refreshed and had dinner, GTA treated us to an exhilarating Ghanaian traditional dance that I participated in and relished every moment.

As early as 7.30am on Wednesday June 20, 2018, we checked out of Chances Hotel. Guided by our very informed and eloquent tour guide, Mr. Yao Dzide, who all through the familiarization tour loaded us with lots of information about the people, culture and history of Ghana, we first paid a visit to Tafi Atome Monkey sanctuary, where were able to interact with the monkeys in their natural habitat. It was intriguing when we were told by the curator at the sanctuary that the sanctuary was primarily a community-based project with no government support and the major sources of funding for it was from funds generated from entry fees paid by visitors to the sanctuary and contributions made by donor agencies. However, I was more enthralled when the curator informed us of how residents of the community are encouraged to accommodate tourists and visitors to give them the opportunity to have “authentic village and community experience’’ whenever they decided to spend the night at the sanctuary.

After the eco-tourism experience we had at Tafi Atome, we moved to the Eastern Region where we first visited Akosombo Dam, the hydroelectric dam also known as the Volta Dam. We were told that the construction of the dam which started in 1961 led to the flooding of parts of Volta River Basin and subsequently led to the creation of Lake Volta which is arguably the largest man-made lake in the world. We then moved to the Royal Senchi Resort to join the travel agents and tour operators who were lodged at the magnificent resort. We had a very sumptuous lunch after which we got a dose of the luxurious treatments one gets when one stays in the palatial Royal Senchi.

We went on a boat cruise on Lake Volta which runs behind the resort and after the cruise, we were treated to some indigenous very tasty cocktails after which we had dinner and danced late into the night before bed time.

The ladies among us were the first to depart for Accra as early 7.00am on Thursday the 21st of June, 2018 because they had to attend the Women in Tourism Conference that was took place in the country’s capital that day. Although, we got into Accra a little late, we were still able to experience night life in Ghana, courtesy the CEO of Kaya Tours, Mr. Gilbert Abeiku Aggrey Santana, popularly known as Abeiku Santana.

There were a lot of VIPs who attended Accra Weizo 2018, some of who were the Dean of the Diplomatic Corp in Ghana as well as Zimbabwe Ambassador to Ghana,  Her Excellency, Mrs. Pavelyn Musaka, South Africa’s Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency, Mrs. Lulu Xingwana and Nana Mbroba Dabo,  the Queen Mother of Anomabo Traditional Area.

Some tourism Industry leaders in West Africa such as the CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr. Akwesi Agyman, Mr. Steve Isokarairi, chairman of the board of trustee of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr. Nkereuwen Onug, chairman of the board of trustee of the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), President of Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA), Mr. Kwesi Eyison and President of NATOP, Hajia Bilkisu Abdul.

The fair was declared opened by Ghana’s Minister of Aviation, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, ably represented by Mrs. Evelyn Ama Lartey on Friday 22nd of June 2018, at Ada Ekesi Hall at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, with the presentation of a paper entitled, “Harnessing the Opportunities in Aviation Value Chain in West Africa.’’ The first discussion of the day focused on aviation in West Africa and this included “Interlining in West Africa, a Possibility or a Mirage?”, “Integrating West African Airport System”, “Standardizing Aviation Laws in West Africa for Regional Growth” and “Why West African Airlines Fail”.

The panelists comprising the Managing Director of Nigeria’s oldest Airline Aero owners of the major MRO in the region, Capt. Ado Sanusi, the Vice-Chairman of SAHCOL, a leading Nigerian-owned Aviation Handling and Logistics Company, Chike Ogeah, the CEO of Ghana-based Smile Aviation and former CEO of Nigeria-based Associated Airlines, Alex Nwuba and Richard Kyereh from Africa World Airlines, the leading Airline in Ghana, were simply brilliant with their contributions.

At the end of the sessions, it was obvious that the aviation industry in West Africa was going to receive a boost. In addition to the seminars and deliberations, Nana and the Ghana queens, a traditional dancing group from Ghana and the Calabar Carnival dancers were also on hand to entertain the guests. Some awards were also given to tourism organizations and individuals in recognition of their contributions to the development of the travel and tourism industry in Africa. The deliberations of the day was not just on aviation before we went for lunch, there was another round of discussion that was moderated by Marigold Vivian Mingle, who is currently the Managing Consultant of Ridge Royal Resort located in the Central Region of Ghana.

The panelists was made up of top hotel managers including Didier Bayeye, market manager, Africa & Indian Ocean, Pastor Emmanuel Geadda-Asando, Vice-President, Ghana Progressive Hotels Association, Sajid Khan, General Manager of Golden Tulip Hotel, Ghana, discussed a topic, “The Adapting of International Hotel Standards to the African Environment”, which stirred up some level of emotional comments in trying to establish what true international standard really is.

June 23rd 2018, the second and closing day of Accra Weizo 2018 was as exciting and enlightening as the first day. It was essentially the ‘Ekaabo Day’, hosted by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), and they ensured that everyone present had more than enough Ghanaian delicacies and drinks as they showcase their new tourism campaign which is: “see Ghana’, ‘wear Ghana’ and ‘eat Ghana’. The discussion of day which centered on “How effective travel bloggers, writers and influencers in promoting travel destinations in West Africa’’, had the following as its panelists — Gabe Onah, Chairman Carnival Calabar Commission, Mr. Lehlohonolo Pitso, Regional Manager, West Africa for South African Tourism, ably represented by Mr. Mohammed Kwajaffa, the Trade Relations Manager, West Africa for South African Tourism, Ms. Stella Fubara, Director Africa, Dubai Tourism, Ghana’s Tourism promoter media Mogul and CEO of Kaya Tours, Mr. Abeiku Santana, the Nigerian CNN Journalist of the Award winner and leading travel writer, Obinna Emelike of Business Day. The discussion was moderated by Mrs. Ebele Enemchukwu   former Mrs. Tourism United Nations.

The bond between South Africa and West Africa is historic – South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Andre Hanekom

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission for Africa held its 61st Regional Tourism Conference in Abuja, capital of Nigeria between June 4 and 5, 2018. The South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Andre Hanekom, who was visiting Nigeria for the first time, was one of the more than 20 ministers and 500 delegates from 34 countries who attended the conference.

On the 6th of June 2018, the minister, on his way back to South Africa, stopped by in Lagos and hosted some members of the media, trade &and other stakeholders to an exclusive dinner at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

The South African Tourism Trade Relations Manager (West Africa), Mr. Mohammed Tanko Kwajaffa, who stood in for the Hub Head, Mr. Hloni Pitso, who was on study leave at the time, welcomed the guests and introduced the Minister and his wife as well the Consul General of South Africa in Lagos, Ambassador Darkey Africa, who accompanied the Minister to the dinner.

The honourable minister, underscoring the pivotal position that Nigeria occupies in South Africa’s tourism marketing plan as well as the historical bond between West Africa and South Africa, opened the discussions. He requested for an open and transparent dialogue on the tourism sector with focus on the flow of traffic between West Africa and South Africa.

Guests enjoyed a savoury South African inspired three-course dinner, though the Minister had insisted on a local Nigerian dish. Going by the pleasant experiences and stories shared across the table that night, it was unanimous that South Africa is a world-class tourism destination, rich in taste, culture and experiences.

However, the major trust of contributions made by the majority of the media and key trade travel partners at the dinner centered on the recurring challenges that applicants encounter when processing South African visa.

Responding, the minister assured all present that considering the importance of the West African market to South African Tourism, a lot was already being done to address the issue.

He said: “We are fully aware of the situation and have set several things in motion to ease the processing of South African Visa in Nigeria. We are working towards eventually having an e-visa regime.  We want to modernize the systems and ease the burdens. We are also working on a way of using the fact that someone has a valid visa of countries like USA, U.K. on his or her passport etc.  as a criteria to speed up the visa application process for such a person.”

In his contribution, Ambassador Darkey Africa, said as a consulate they were also aware of the visa situation and on their part, they are working determinedly with their colleagues in the Home Affairs Ministry in South Africa to ensure that Nigerians enjoy better and more seamless regime of processing South African visa at the shortest possible time.

He, however, advised that applicants should always submit their applications on time and with the appropriate supporting documents as this will make it easier for the process to be more seamless for everyone’s good. The need for more socio-cultural exchanges between South Africa and the countries in West Africa was suggested by Mr. Obinna Emelike of The Business Day Newspaper and it was generally agreed that such exchanges will go a long way to strengthen the historical bond between South Africa and West Africa.

One of the major highlights of the evening was the appreciation expressed by Nigeria travel agents to Ambassador Darkey Africa for the open-door policy that he had operated since his assumption of office and the very kind gestures that he has continued to express towards the travel agents in Nigeria. The Nigerian tour operators also presented Mr. Hanekom with a Nigerian artifact.

In closing, Minister Hanekom called for greater regional cooperation and for Africans to work together to ensure ease of travel and the continued growth of tourism across the continent.  He also promised that the short visa duration currently being given to frequent travellers will be looked into and reviewed. Mr. Mohammed Tanko Kwajaffa gave a vote of thanks and the dinner was brought to an end, after which group pictures were taken with the ever cheerful Mr. Derek Hanekom and his wife.

All About the Upcoming Creative Nigeria Summit 2018

All is set for the Creative Nigeria Summit 2018, a 2-day summit held annually to bring together international and indigenous experts, thought leaders, industry players and renowned professionals within the Nigerian Film Television Industry to discuss issues affecting the Industry.

Topics will address the growing changing TV environment in Nigeria; discuss available technologies; highlight the latest trend in TV services and OTT solutions in the industry; focus on the essential elements necessary for providing excellent content, content marketing, acquisition and distribution.

Some speakers at the event include:

 

  • BADA AKINTUNDE-JOHNSON (MEDIA AND CREATIVE EXPERT)
  • SANJAY SALIL (MEDIA ENTREPRENEUR)
  • MO ABUDU (MEDIA PROPRIETOR AT EBONYLIFE TV&FILMS)
  • JEFF KALLIGHERI (ENTREPRENEUR & TV / FILM PRODUCER)
  • ANAHITA KHEDER (SNR VP, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA, SOUTH EAST EUROPE AT FREMANTLEMEDIA)
  • EMMA SMITHWICK (OF 40 PARTNERS UK)
  • ED WALLER (EDITORIAL DIRECTOR AT C21)
  • LINDSEY OLIVER (MEDIA ENTREPRENEUR)
  • ODIRI IWUJI (FOUNDING PARTNER & COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR C21 MEDIA)
  • KUNLE FALODUN (MEDIA ENTREPRENEUR)
  • OBI ASIKA (MEDIA ENTREPRENEUR)
  • NEIL G. OYENEKAN (MEDIA ENTREPRENEUR)

Is this Event for you?

If you fall within any of the under-listed categories, then this summit is expedient for your appropriate perception, comprehension and leveraging of the Media Industry. Television, Film Music Professionals Producers Bankers Production & Post-Production Executives Entertainment Attorneys Owners and Executives Finance & Tax Executives Digital Distribution Executives Film Distributors Studio Executives Filmmakers Channel Owners Advertising Agencies Artists and Media Artisans And Students in the Creative Industry.

Who are the Organizers?

This event is brought to you courtesy the Ministry of Information and Culture, in conjunction with Think Tank Media and Advertising in a bid to build a structure which leaves behind a sustainable legacy as an initiative of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism’s efforts to develop the creative industry and diversify the Nigerian economy.

What Should You Expect from this Summit?

At the end of the summit, it is expected that the discussions and workshops will trigger relevant ideas, strategies and recommendations to build policies, drive actions for building proper structures; and help businesses within the Nigerian Television Industry to clearly understand and adjust to the realities and dynamics of content for building viable TV and media production businesses.

The Event will hold at EKO HOTEL & SUITES, 1415 ADETOKUNBO ADEMOLA STREET, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS from 16th to 17th of July, 2018.

This 2-day Summit is absolutely free to register and attend!

Air Namibia Marks Inaugural Flight to Nigeria

Namibian national carrier, Air Namibia at the weekend marked its inaugural entry to Nigeria with flight from Windhoek, capital of the southern African nation to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

The airline which starts with four times a week flights said successful opening of the Lagos route was the actualisation of long term plan to connect many countries in West Africa to southern Africa and other parts of the continent.

Welcoming the airline to Lagos with the cutting of well embroidered cake that bears the airline logo, the High Commissioner of Namibia to Nigeria, Dr. Peingeondjabi Titus Shipoh expressed his excitement to see the country’s national airline berth in Lagos.

“It is an honour to welcome you to the inaugural flight of Air Namibia to Lagos from Windhoek City in Namibia,” he said.

Shipoh said Nigeria and Namibia share a long history of solidarity and cooperation, dating back to the years of struggle for the decolonisation of Southern Africa, disclosing that Nigeria played a strong pivotal role in campaigning for Namibia’s decolonisation.

“Today the political struggle is on and we continue to enjoy peace and stability; however, the fight for economic emancipation of Africa remains to be won. Africa is now the new economic frontier. Africa needs to deepen intra-Africa trade to facilitate integration and derive tangible benefits from globalization,” he said.

The High Commissioner said the role of transport and logistics sector has become extremely important for the African continent.

“I am applauding Air Namibia for taking advantage of the opening of African skies. This is an opening of new and more dynamic chapter in furthering and consolidating relationship between Nigeria and Namibia. This route will enable cooperation in all sectors; facilitate entry of Namibian investors to this strategic market. Air Namibia’s venture into the ECOWAS market is to establish a win-win cooperation to exploit available business opportunities, add value to the natural resources that both our countries are endowed with,” Shipoh said.

The General Manager, APG, the General Sales Agent (GSA) of Air Namibia, Chike Ohiagu said there has been positive response to the flight of the airline to Nigeria with huge requests for Air Namibia’ flight tickets.

“On behalf of APG Nigeria, GSA to Air Namibia we want to thank everyone that graced this occasion. There is deluge of requests. It is a good sign that Air Namibia has come here to stay. Our duty is to sell tickets and make money for Air Namibia. In the next two weeks, there would be a forum where travel agents will be invited and we talk about Air Namibia and the product we have and the projections for the next few years,” Ohiagu said.

The Nigerian High Commission in the Republic of Namibia who was represented by Uwem Johnson said that there is huge potential market for the airline in Nigeria and expressed the hope that in few months the airline would have daily flight from Windhoek to Lagos.

Spokesman of Air Namibia, Paul Nakawa who represented the management of the airline said it was a dream come true that Air Namibia now operates to Lagos.

“We are happy to come to Nigeria. We are here to stay. Namibia is open to Nigeria and we have a lot of things to offer. The first departure of Air Namibia to Accra from Lagos Nigeria on the 29 of June, 2018 is a special occasion and calls for celebration. This is a major milestone for our airline as we journey forward.

“The creation of Air Namibia has gone a long way in connecting Southern Africa and West Africa. This comes as another option, given the fact that there are other players already in the market. Our objective is to create inter African trade and integration. We launched five routes in a space of three years,” Nakawa said.

SAHCOL WINS AIR NAMIBIA LAGOS GROUND HANDLING CONTRACT

The Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) has won the contract to provide Aviation Ground Handling services to Air Namibia at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The new contract will see SAHCOL providing unequalled Passenger, Ramp and Cargo Handling Services to the Airline from Friday, the 29th of June, 2018.

Air Namibia which is wholly owned by the Namibian Government is the National Airline of the Republic of Namibia. The airline whose flights will be originating from Windhoek, Namibia will be operating three flights weekly to Lagos, Nigeria.

The choice of SAHCOL as a preferred ground handling partner by Air Namibia is a further proof that SAHCOL is the handler of choice, providing excellent and dedicated ground handling services to its clients, hence  setting the pace in aviation ground handling business in Nigeria, in terms of innovation and efficient customer service.

SAHCOL is reputed to provide safe and expedient aviation ground handling services in line with global best practices, to the delight and satisfaction of her increasing list of customers on both the domestic and international fronts.

Meanwhile, Camair-Co, a flag carrier of Cameroun, which ceased flights to Lagos in 2016, has returned to the Lagos route, retaining SAHCOL as ground handling partner to its three times weekly flights.

The Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited is a SIFAX Group IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and RA3 certified Aviation Ground Handling Company, as well as a full member of the international Airport Services Association (ASA), providing services in Passenger Handling, Ramp Handling, Cargo Handling/Warehousing, Training Services, Aviation Security, Baggage reconciliation, Hospitality/Lounge services, and other related Ground Handling Services, in all the commercially operated airports across Nigeria.